ATTERIDGEVILLE – The officiating at this level will once again be the major talking point following a bogus penalty that Club Africain captain Saber Khalifa coolly slotted past goalkeeper Ronwen Williams before halftime, although the ball had clearly come off defender Morgan Gould’s chest.
But SuperSport United, now facing the near impossible task of heading to Tunisia later this month for the second leg of this CAF Confederation Cup semi-final fixture on the backfoot, will know their strikers should have been better on the day in a 1-1 draw here on Sunday.
As early as the third minute, Bradley Grobler missed an absolute sitter when all he had to do was stand there and guide the ball into the net and give Matsatsantsa the lead.
That was pretty much the theme in this encounter for the home side, who knew they had to grab their chances when they came against poor travellers Club Africain, who are far from the pushovers they are on the road when they are in their own backyard.
The Tunisians would not have expected such a crucial away goal, but were gifted a 20th-minute penalty by referee Bernard Camille from Seychelles after Dean Furman’s clearance bounced off Gould’s chest, but the match official pointed to the penalty spot instead of waving for play to continue.
Club Africain were suddenly content, and spent the rest of the match absorbing the pressure from SuperSport and feigning injuries to run down the clock.
It’s no secret that the standard of refereeing in CAF competitions needs a serious review, but it will be a mere excuse for coach Eric Tinkler and his men as the opportunities were there to put the game to bed – Grobler and Jeremy Brockie the main culprits.
Some credit also has to be given to Club Africain goalkeeper Atef Dkhili for being the only man to stand between SuperSport and victory, although he was eventually beaten in the 89th minute by substitute Thabo Mnyamane, who missed the eventual spot-kick, but grabbed the equaliser from the rebound.
Tinkler’s charges continued to fluff more chances, however.
The coach had seen that a positive outcome was all in SuperSport’s hands as he pulled off his two misfiring strikers Grobler and Brockie for Dove Wome and Kingston Nkhatha, who also got on the end of several chances, but the results were pretty much the same.
It was a dominant performance by the home side, and they will regret that they will face the Tunisians in three weeks’ time with their back against the wall when they could have at least completed half the job in the first leg.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how Tinkler rotates his squad in the coming weeks, especially with the international break and the MTN8 cup final against Cape Town City on October 14 before travelling to the Stade Olympique de Rades.
They should have won this comfortably.